Secularists have turned Christmas from a Christian-valued celebration of the birth of Jesus, to a commercial holiday.
Currently, 157 countries out of 196 celebrate Christmas. Although popular, Christmas celebrations happen differently across countries.
Here in the U.S., Americans associate this season with Christmas trees, eggnog, lots of presents and maybe Santa Claus. Christmas also enables families to come together to share presents and enjoy the company of both friends and family.
Providence Academy students similarly share in the popular Christmas tradition.
Grace Klassen ‘18 describes her typical Christmas as, “opening gifts, eating lots of food, and singing songs about loved ones, the winter, and mythical snowmen that come to life”
Many, including Christians, would argue that the joyful atmosphere of Christmas disproves the claim of the secular Christmas and emphasizes more on Christian values.
Nevertheless, these “secular” celebrations ignore the main focus of the holiday, the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Thomas Clark ‘18 similarly recognizes Christmas today as a more secular holiday.
“Sadly yes, [Christmas] has become more for present opening than for celebrating our Lord’s birth,” Clark said. “People have lost the sense of what Christmas is really about.”
Christians who continue to preserve the true significance of this holiday are also at risk of falling into the commercial mentality. Retailers use advertisements, among other things, to lure people into a commercial mentality that shifts the focus of Christmas from the celebration of Jesus’ birth to other “priorities”, for instance, shopping for presents.
How can Christians avoid this imposed commercial mentality and focus more on keeping Christ in Christmas?
Participating in Advent, the time leading up to Christmas, spiritually prepares Christians for the celebration of the birth of Christ and detaches Christians from the secular Christmas.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Church teaches, “by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming”
Dr. Hippler and his family, participate in the crèche, a visible reminder of the series of events that lead up to the birth of Christ, our Savior.
He said, “up in our house, built over the fireplace is a mantle and there’s this big space where most people would put their T.V but that is where my wife would put the créche.”
“The créche is a big thing for us, putting in baby Jesus on Christmas,” Dr. Hippler continued.
Lastly, other than present shopping for others, Christians may focus on giving a very special or even personal, gift to God. Examples of these gifts include, giving something up or spending time with God daily either through reading his word or prayer. Involving others in these gifts, opens up a chance for a true Christmas celebration with Christ as the center of the holiday.